The Best Of.

Watching blog statistics is an infurating hobby.   I’ve been writing here now for just over five years, and no matter what I do, the same two posts are always at the top of my stats.

1)  ICE, ICE, Baby! (A Beginner’s Guide To The Deutsche Bahn) – Written in early 2013, almost halfway through my time in Germany, this is a fairly detailed how-to styled post about how to use the rail system in Germany.  I took a lot of time to write this one, and gathered a ton of photographs from my own travels.   I left the comments open for the first couple of years, and I would routinely get comments from people about to go on their first German rail adventure, seeking advice.    I still get the occasional question through normal e-mail about this one, and it is always, always, always at the top of my stats for the most visits on any given day.

2)  Germany’s Most Dangerous Export: Kinder Surprise Eggs – This post from late 2013 is the second busiest post on my entire blog.  These little chocolate eggs are illegal to import into the United States, with a very steep fine per-egg if you get caught bringing one through customs.  I see them for sale from time to time in places like Sawgrass Mills, and I haven’t the foggiest idea how they got them through customs.  Rumors persist that the ban has been lifted, but I haven’t seen anything official to confirm that and I guess regular google searches about Kinder Eggs bring up my post.

The third place for top post is usually the most recent thing I’ve posted.   There are a few older posts that I really enjoyed putting together, though.  Sometimes I wish some of these would be in the top stats instead.

1)  Grokking Expatriates in Sci-Fi – This is another post from early 2013, and it’s one of the few posts where I got really geeky.  I went through an insanely long list of television, movie, comic, and literary characters out of the sci-fi genre who could be considered expatriates, and I grouped them into categories I made up.  This post was so much fun that it’s the first and only time that I’ve ever been Freshly Pressed.  (Thanks again for the nomination, Rara!)

2) Last Looks – I wrote this in late 2014, as I was preparing to move back to the United States.  It’s a long list of things that I thought I would miss about Germany, and things that I wouldn’t miss.  I also mentioned a lot of stuff that I was looking forward to about being back in the US, and I was right about everything except the cell phone signal.  That still sucks.

3) – Hunting Krampus in Berchtesgaden – Besides being a fascinating look into holiday traditions that are a little bit less tame than modern Santa, this post is a very fun look at the time in late 2013 that I went on a Krampus hunt with a friend from work.

4) Any of my travel posts.   I’ve written up many fantastic trips, with lots of great photos.  For some of my favorite examples, check out Cairo, Budapest, or Reykjavik.  I’m immensely proud of some of the posts I’ve written up about my travels.

What gets the most traffic from your blog?

Editor’s Note:  I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers.  I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?

Chapter Two.

It’s been a little more than two months since my last post.  I said that I wasn’t sure if I would come back, and that I had no plans to restart the blog.  I’ve come to realize that was short-sighted.

I’ve missed writing, even though sometimes it feels like a chore and I don’t always have stuff to talk about.   The thing is, when I do have stuff to talk about, I’m excited to write here.  I missed you guys.    And I do have stuff to talk about, even if it’s not as travel-filled as it used to be.

Just yesterday, I had a thing that made me want to blog.  I went to the eye doctor for the first time in about four years.  The last time I had my eyes examined was just before I moved to Germany in late 2011.   Since that time, everything in that office has changed.  The plaza was ripped up and new stores were built.  The eye doctor’s place of business moved to a new office a few doors down, with a completely rebuilt floor plan.   They added more doctors and added a bunch of recent optometry technology.   My favorite piece of new tech is this digital camera that takes wide photographs of the inside of your eyes.  This isn’t new technology, but it’s new to me, and it’s utterly fascinating.   This is my left eye, as of Wednesday afternoon.

my-left-eye

The photograph shows the inside of my eye.  You can see the optic cup, as well as the blood vessels running through my eye.  The black slashes at the bottom edge are actually my eye-lashes.  The whole thing looks a great deal like some sort of fantastic nebula, and I halfway expect Voyager to come swooshing by at any moment.

Pretty nifty, eh?

So:  I’m back.  I can’t sustain the frequency of posts that I used to run, but I’ll definitely write here whenever I want to share a neat photograph or talk about something that’s on my mind.   Onward!

So, how have you all been?

Tacos! (Or maybe not so much.)

I’ve been trying all weekend to come up with a new tagline for this blog, since I’m no longer on the Donau, and virtually every tag I’ve come up with so far has involved tacos in some way.

Tomorrow night’s dinner is Taco Tuesday- perhaps I should try this again after I’ve actually satisfied the taco-lust.ninjas-dragons-tacos

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to proceed with this blog, and I know that I need to change my direction a little bit.  I don’t travel now the way I did in Germany, for any number of reasons,  and the posts about repatriation and reintegration are interesting, but that material will only carry me so far.

I think I have a sense of what I want to do, though.  In the paleolithic era of the Internet, back when puppies were the oldest animals, there was a giant blogging community on a site called LiveJournal.   Livejournal still exists, and I actually have a permanent account there.  In the heyday, around 2003 or so, I was a very verbose LJ user, sometimes even posting two or three times a day if I had an idea.  Over the years, the community dwindled, and other things took the focus.  Many people moved to the dreaded BookFace, and some started writing their own off-site blogs.  I found it harder and harder to keep writing there because I simply got too busy.  In modern times, I go back there every May to write my thoughts about the Television Upfronts.  I watch a lot of television and I have many thoughts about it.  I briefly considered bringing those posts over to this blog, but I never felt like they fit here.

Since I started writing in this blog, though, I’ve gotten into a good habit where writing is concerned.   My tone has always been casual, but structured here.  I have only rarely talked about things on a personal note, and I don’t think that most of the people reading ever got a sense of my real personality through my posts, other than the ingrained wanderlust.

I think that I’m going to try to incorporate the type of blogging I did back on LiveJournal.  I spoke more about my life and the people in it, and I spent more time talking about the things that were actually on my mind.   I’ll still do trip reports from time to time, and I’ll still post pictures occasionally, but the content will be a lot more varied.    I don’t intend to implement a set posting schedule, but I will never go more than a week without a post. There will be times when the whim will strike me, like tonight, and I’ll write something up on the fly to be posted immediately. (I jokingly called this ‘blogging while the neuron is hot’ a few minutes ago, and I realized that this would be a great tagline for a blog about neuroscience.)

I’ve already taken the first step toward resetting the blog by changing the URL from http://stevenglassman.de to http://stevenglassman.com.   For those of you who have linked to me in your own blogs, don’t worry:  the redirection is actually handled by WordPress.com’s back-end, which means that any links to my old posts on the .de domain will still load properly; they’ll just load with the .com version of the URL. I still need to find my new tagline, though.  And I probably won’t keep closing my posts with a question-  they’re good conversation starters, but sometimes I have no idea what to ask, and I think it shows pretty clearly when I’m grasping at straws.

In the spirit of blogging more about the things that actually make me tick, I’ll leave you tonight with three things that are on my mind.

Thing the first:  Senator Ted Cruz is a willfully ignorant butthead.  I don’t usually get too terribly political, but sometimes I’m enraged enough to comment.  Senator Ted posted this to Twitter:

The Internet immediately went aflame, including The Oatmeal’s awesome response, and Gizmodo’s thoughtful analysis.   The reason this enrages me in particular is partly that it’s a false equivalency:  Net neutrality doesn’t equate to a government takeover of anything, it just prevents the telecoms from being evil dickheads.  The other reason this enrages me is that Cruz has taken tons of money from the telecoms, so you can intuit that he is either being entirely uninformed about the issue (unlikely) or he’s shilling for the telecoms, saying what his corporate sponsors tell him to say.  Dude might as well be wearing Comcast and XFinity patches on his jacket.

Go back and read those two things I linked if you want to know more; they explain it much better than I do.   Seriously, though, grr.  Just grr.

Thing the second: This post about Charles Dance being cast as Karellen in the SyFy miniseries of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End” excites me in a way cannot be described without using words like squeeee and ohmygodohmygodohmygod.  This is not because of the actor-  I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so I don’t really know the man’s work.  Rather, this is because Childhood’s End is a fantastic classic sci-fi story about a peaceful alien invasion that takes place over the span of more than one hundred years.  If you like good, thought-provoking science fiction, you should read this.   I expect the SyFy network to completely screw this up, but I’m still a little hopeful that this will be one of the rare adaptations that they actually get right.

Thing the third:  My reintegration back into life here in the US has been dotted with both successes and victories.

  • My brain has been failing me at odd intervals, causing me to lose the English words for things, and occasionally replacing them with strange and unrelated words.
  • I’ve noticed that I still grocery-shop like I’m in Germany, only without the canvas bags.  By this, I mean that I tend to only get as much as I can carry myself in one trip.   The stores themselves are somewhat overwhelming, and I find myself distinctly uncomfortable in them.
  • I reaffirmed my American-ness this weekend by restarting my Costco membership, but then promptly had what I can only describe as a mild panic attack from the chaos of the Saturday afternoon Costco shopping experience.  I still bought a box of Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix.  Don’t judge me!
  • I continue to be a patently ridiculous and silly person.  Last night, we had a birthday dinner for my dad and step-mother.  Her birthday was Friday, his was today.  Having the family gather to celebrate in the weekend in between them was a no-brainer.  While I was getting ready, I momentarily forgot how button-down shirts work, and I closed the cuff on the tighter of the two buttons.   Astutely noticing that my left cuff was significantly tighter than my right cuff, I asked aloud, “What the hell, did my wrist get fat?”  Amelie gently reminded me how shirts work without too much laughing.

Hello, I’ll Be Right Back.

I want to say a big hello to all the folks that have stopped by since I was Freshly Pressed.

Hello!

This is the first time I’ve ever been Pressed, and I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing.    I have two things I wanted to mention, though.

Thing the first:  My posts aren’t usually so oriented in geek culture as that last one.  I do reference genre television and movies from time to time, like in this post over here, but most of the time it’s a little more general.  I write about life in Germany, about my travels, about the cool things I see in other cities and countries, and about whatever happens to pop up in my head.

Thing the second:   When I scheduled my posts for this week and next, I wasn’t counting on the influx of traffic that you get from being Freshly Pressed.  I’m really not used to having a lot of traffic at all.  Even my post about the European Dog Sled Championships got more views than my sci-fi post before I got Freshly Pressed.

I have a cool post about trains set to post on Monday while I’m in an airplane, but I’m not sure yet what I’ll post after that, because I generally only have one or two posts ready ahead of time.  My expats-in-scifi post went up right before two insanely busy weeks where I’m not really going to be at a computer.  so there might be a little bit of a lull in the next two weeks.

That being said, if you’re the sort of blog reader who doesn’t mind if a blog only gives you new material once or twice a week, I’m probably your guy.  Please come in, make yourself comfortable, and have a nice cuppa tea!  I’ll be back soon, I promise!

byeee